Genevieve, Sabrina, Vern, and Antonio are attractive hosts on TV home shows who transform the dowdiest of homes into seductive abodes…in less than an hour and for only a few bucks. In this difficult market of too many listings chasing too few buyers, some homeowners are jumping on the staging bandwagon and oh so hopefully clutching their paint sample decks and making multiple trips to HomeGoods for snazzy accessories.
TV home shows are helpful but they are developed for a national audience. Just like the Pottery Barn catalog, they seek to create visual images that appeal to a wide range of tastes. But not all buyers are the same.
You need to “know your buyer” and make your home more competitive than the other choices the buyers will consider in your market. You and your REALTOR® should carefully evaluate the photos of comparable homes on the internet, or even better, visit those homes in person. Your REALTOR® should know which homes in your area have recently sold and be able to explain why some homes are chosen and others are passed over.
A good REALTOR® can educate a home seller on the importance of curb appeal, de-personalizing, de-cluttering, and, of course, thorough cleaning. A REALTOR’s® pre-listing punch list can, and should, be supplemented by a professional home inspection that suggests which repairs will make the home more easily selected and financed.
A professional stager can work wonders in making a home more appealing if the home is otherwise competitive. But granite counter tops and a new bathroom light fixture won’t convince a buyer to pay significantly more than the home is worth. Shaker Beige walls won’t persuade an FHA inspector to overlook a poorly functioning furnace. A charming wreath on the front door can’t keep a buyer from noticing a wet basement.
Go ahead and watch those engaging TV hosts and glean from them new ways to make your rooms look warmer and more inviting. Then talk to your REALTOR® about pricing to sell, about being in better condition than the competition and how staging can make your home the most compelling choice on the market.